Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Golden Obedience

Subjection. This is when we dedicate ourselves to God, and stand ready dressed for His service. Thus the angels in heaven glorify Him; they wait on His throne, and are ready to take a commission from Him; therefore they are represented by the cherubims with wings displayed, to show how swift they are in their obedience. We glorify God when we are devoted to His service; our head studies for Him, our tongue pleads for Him, and our hands relieve His members. The wise men that came to Christ did not only bow the knee to Him, but presented Him with gold and myrrh. Matt ii 2. So we must not only bow the knee, give God worship, but bring presents of golden obedience. We glorify God when we stick at no, when we fight under the banner of His Gospel against an enemy, and say to Him as David to king Saul, "Thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine." I Sam xvii 32.

A good Christian is like the sun, which not only sends forth heat, but goes its circuit round the world. Thus, he who glorifies God, has not only his affections heated with love to God, but he goes his circuit too; he moves vigorously in the sphere of obedience.

-Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity, pgs. 8-9.

Now we turn to Thomas Watson's final reflection of what it means to glorify God, namely, those who glorify God, like the angels, are zealously awaiting God's divine ordination; like a weened child ready to honor his parents with his duty. God's commands have, for the willing saints, become joyous duties; rather than dull, burdensome punishments. Must we only glorify God in our doctrines and affections, and not through our service? No, our doctrines and affections ought to compel us to serve God heartily; they fuel our service to Him. Those who want to separate these facets of what it means to glorify God will inevitably fall into sorrowful errors, or even destructive heresies. Let us, therefore, confer with the Holy Scriptures that we may be safeguarded from the many faulty theologies that serve to rob God of His divine glory.

There is, of course, a tendency to strictly serve God, even with a zeal, but become unconcerned with doctrines. Much like the Apostle Paul's rebuke to his kinsmen in his epistle to the Romans; he says, "For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge." Rom. 10:2. But one may object that there is nothing sinful in seeking to serve God, even without knowledge. Yes, that may be, but our sinfulness will inevitably arise out of our ignorance. We will inescapably, out of the depravity of our nature, seek our own glory, which ultimately is nothing but vainglory. Therefore, it is necessary that we also seek knowledge of God; the ground from which all our labors tend to. The golden obedience of believers must be drawn out of the ground of Divine knowledge.

How then shall we serve God? There must be right and wrong ways to be obedient unto God. Let us again examine the service of the heavenly angels. Their obedience are particularly godly because of their complete dependence on God. They are those who serve; paradoxically, they are also the beneficiary. God remains the giver. The saints ought to serve in like manner. Giving God His due glory. Not to us, oh Lord, but to your name be the glory.

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